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South L.A. beating tape turned over to lawyer


A federal magistrate this week ordered the Los Angeles Police Department to give an attorney video footage that she claims shows her client being assaulted by an officer in South Los Angeles.

Clinton Alford, the man being beaten in the video, is suing the department, Chief Charlie Beck and officers for violating his civil rights, when he said he was detained and beaten after riding his bicycle near Avalon Boulevard and 55th Street in October 2014.

Judge Alicia G. Rosenberg has ordered the LAPD to submit footage of the altercation taken from a nearby security camera to Alford’s attorney, Caree Harper. Prosecutors from the district attorney’s office last week charged officer Richard Garcia with assault under the color of authority. He has since pleaded not guilty. Harper, who was able to obtain the video as early as yesterday, said she will have a forensic expert examine it.

A prior court order prohibited public viewing of the video. However, LAPD officials who have seen the tape of the arrest described it as “disturbing” as it shows Garcia allegedly kicking and stomping on Alford and then beating him repeatedly with his elbows in the head and upper body. One source told the media that Garcia reportedly kicked Alford in the head “like a football player kicking a field goal.” Garcia is a 10-year veteran and has not worked in the field since the October incident. Three other officers and a sergeant were also involved in the incident and have been temporarily relieved of duty and assigned to their respective homes as the department’s internal affairs division continues its investigation.

“A judge validated my client’s right to have a copy of the raw video footage of the brutal beating that included him being kicked and hit by members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Division,” Harper said. “I said six months ago that if Chief Beck were sincere about transparency, he would have released the video then. He would have made me compel the production of evidence showing what was done to my client.”

“My desire here is justice,” Beck told the media this week. He said releasing the video before the trial could “sway” a jury pool or “otherwise interfere” with the case. Last week after Beck watched the video, he reportedly called the district attorney’s office and asked that it “… not only look at this case but to file criminal charges.” Beck later said he “… was shocked by the content of the video.”